tv CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto CNN March 26, 2019 7:00am-8:00am PDT
in the process possibly eliminating the health care coverage of millions, 52 million americans. the justice department had previously argued that portions of president obama's signature health care law should stand. it now says it agrees with a federal judge in texas that it should be done away with entirely. this has an effect on lots of people in this country. let's discuss with a former federal prosecutor. first of all, this is a big change for this administration which was arguing really making another argument before and now it is saying forget about that. we want to go against the entire law. how difficult is it to make that transition? >> it's very unusual. typically, federal laws are defended by the justice department. in other words, there is often challenges to the constitutionality of laws and the justice department spends a lot of time and resources defending the constitutionality of our laws. it is unusual when an
administration doesn't defend the law. here under jeff sessions, the justice department was defending the constitutionality of much of the law. in other words, the ruling by the federal judge in texas was that because the individual mandate is no longer part of the affordable care act that the entire rest of the statute is unconstitutional. what jeff sessions' justice department had said was that there are a couple portions of it that would go down with the individual mandate, but the rest of the law would be okay. now under attorney general barr the justice department is saying the entire law must go. >> 52 million would be effected under preexisting conditions lowances there. let me ask you this. is this a legal decision or a political decision? it's not like the justice department discovered a new law that said their past position
was wrong? are they going to make that argument before the judge? it's a pretty dramatic turn. >> there is no question that there is no event. in other words, it's not like they discovered new evidence. the law is what it is. nothing has changed. it's simply that under the leadership of attorney general barr there is a different view at the justice department. now, the decision by the court below the federal district court has been wrongly criticized on both sides of the aisle. many prominent scholars who previously challenged the affordable care act have criticized that decision. at this point, if the composition of the supreme court remains the same, it seems unlikely that this challenge would succeed in the supreme court. of course, the conversation could change at any minute. >> first it would go to the court of the fifth circuit. if it does get to the supreme
court let's talk about john roberts because he was the famous swing vote that rescued the affordable care act during the obama administration to the chagrin of many conservatives. based on the law of that decision and what we know of the justice department's current standing, can you get a sense of how the supreme court chief justice might decide on this in. >> i think the principle is easy for everyone to understand why i think it is likely that this will be upheld by the supreme court. essentially, the reasoning is that because one portion of the law is gone that the rest of the law goes away or should go away or it is unconstitutional. previously, the supreme court with an opinion authored by john roberts held that the law was constitutional and specifically a portion of the law that is now gone which has been removed by congress. congress made a decision to remove that portion of the law,
the individual mandate but chose explicitly to keep the rest of the law in place. generally, the supreme court does not want to overturn a statute that has been passed by congress and signed into law by the president. so they are going to try to be deaf renchal to that. it would have to be a clear situation for the supreme court to overturn a statute. here the severability issue, the issue of whether or not the rest of the statute can survive i think is unlikely to survive at the supreme court. >> you do make a good point, unless the composition changes. for instance, president trump gets to appoint another conservative justice could swngg the result. democrats in the house chart a delicate course in the wake of the mueller report and what we know of it so far moving on without letting go of their own separate investigation. you have this call today i
believe beginning about an hour ago with some concern i believe even from nancy pelosi about dangers for democrats going forward if there is too much focus on the russia investigation and not enough on the agenda. what are you hearing as smg out of the decision making? >> reporter: i think what it is really instructive now that the mueller report is filed attorney general bill barr -- house democrats meeting behind closed doors. i'm told speaker nancy pelosi made clear a couple things that they need the actual mueller report and not the letter from the attorney general. that is one of the major pushes. you saw the letter come out last night from six democratic committee chairs asking for the report to be submitted to congress by april 2. the underlying materials to be submitted to congress. that will be a primary push at this moment. if they don't meade the deadline then there is talk about trying
to compel them to meet the deadline. there are multiple house investigations that are central to the house not necessarily the mueller report. this is what adam schiff had to say about his investigations. >> our investigation has always focussed on counter intelligence issues. is the president or anyone around him compromised in some way? that work has to go on. >> that work will go on with the intelligence committee and other committees looking into things. it is probably more important when you take away what i have been told is a shift in focus to health care exactly what we were talking about. i asked a democrat where do you go from here? he sent me a link to the filing about invalidating obamacare. that what democrats want to talk about. that is what they campaigned on and that more than anything else is what you will hear a lot about from democrats going forward not necessarily the
mueller report or the attorney general's letter but health care and the obamacare repeal. >> health care was a big driving issue in the mid terms. we know that helped flip a lot of districts from red to blue. thanks very much on the hill. joining me now is republican congressman mike johnson of louisiana who serves on the judiciary committee. we appreciate you taking the time this morning. >> great to be with you. >> first, if i can get your reaction to the justice department's decision to seek to validate all of obamacare while i know that politically most republicans don't like it, many republican voters like the provisions of it, preexisting conditions. >> i think we have all seen that obamacare is failing the american people. it was a big campaign issue in 2016 and last year for everyone on both sides of the aisle because our health care system is broken. i think when the individual mandate is invalidated i think that is the under pinning of the
whole law, but there is good reason for comfort i think among the american people. there are some smart people around the table working on real solutions to sure up our health care system and make it much better. >> that's a nice answer, but you know as well as me that if this is repealed, 11 million americans will suddenly have no health insurance. is that something you would support? >> no. we won't support that at all. i can tell you that virtually every republican on the hill as well as the democrats are in favor of supporting those with preexisting conditions and making sure that no one falls through the cracks. i think everyone will get together here in a bipartisan fashion and make sure that the american people are taken care of. we are committed to that and we look forward to the opportunity to bring those ideas to the table. >> i would be impressed if there was a bipartisan approach to this. i appreciate your hope that that's possible going forward. let's talk about mueller for a
moment here and the report. as you know, it seems the answer was fairly definitive on the question of collusion. on the question of obstruction of justice, robert mueller said he did find evidence on both sides which means he found evident that the president on one side did obstruct justice. should it be the attorney general's decision. >> i think it is fully appropriate for the attorney general to make that decision. i'm not sure it is a fair characterization of what mueller found. i think he left it open ended and whatever reasons he had, he punted that decision to the top man, the top of the totem pole. >> he said specifically it does not exonerate the president on obstruction of justice. that is not language the special counsel had to put into that report. >> that's true, but he is using the common parlance of federal
investigators and prosecutors. that's the world he came out of. let's make this important point. rod rosenstein also assisted the a.g. in that decision and he is one democrats have been saying is an american hero. he served under the obama administration. these are men who have sound judgment. william barr has been the attorney general before. he knows what he is doing. i think the american people have a lot of confidence in the decisions that have been made and that's why so many people are saying it is time to move on and get to the big issues that are facing the country. >> will the american people have more confidence if they can see the full report and would you spert t support the release of the full report? >> i do. we have to do it within the bounds of the law. i think everyone can appreciate that there are certain pieces of information that have to be redacted. you can't have anything that's confidential, classified, deal wg grand jury proceedings. we'll get to it and i think the american people deserve that. >> that's what they are getting
to now. let me ask you this. before that public release to be meaningful, it would seem to me congress would have to keep an open mind to make its own judgment. is it not possible that william barr made a judgment that elected members of congress disagree with on this? if you see evidence that leads you to a different conclusion, might you vote differently? might you say that there is evidence here of something that a u.s. president should not have been doing with regards to the investigation? >> i think it's silly for anyone to suggest that any congressional committee here, the intel committee, anyone else could find something that robert mueller did not. in 22 months of investigation, with 25 million -- >> robert mueller did not make a decision on obstruction of justice as you know. you know special counsels are designed really so that you take investigations like this out of in effect the political arena so
they can present the evidence. many legal scholars argue that the ultimate judgment is up to congress because it's a political judgment you cannot indict a sitting president. >> sure, but congress has to rely upon the expertise of the people who are not political. that's what the attorney general's office is. that's what the department of justice is. robert mueller is behind reapproach. >> attorney generals are not political? they are appointed by the president. >> that has always been the case. these are people who understand that the rule of law is what should govern. the democrats here have politicized all of this. that's why peoples' patience is wearing thin. we spent too much time. there is no way that any congressional committee can find differently than what these experts did with all those resources, unlimited time. we are wasting the american people's time if we go forward with this. it's time to move on. we have major challenges facing the country. >> to be fair, you're hearing
that same point from democrats as well. congressman, we do appreciate having you on the show. >> thanks, jim. right now, as we speak, lawmakers are on the hill holding a rare hearing on gun control as three apparent suicides devastated two communities already touched by the tragedy of mass shootings 67. the pentagon notified congress that it authorized the transfer of funds to begin new construction along the southern border. democratic lawmakers not happy about it. we will discuss. just 40 seconds. that is how long pilots may have had to diagnose the problem and initiate a system override in at least one of the boeing 737 max plane crashes. not enough time. we'll have more. my joints, they hurt. the pain and swelling. the psoriasis. cosentyx treats more than just the joint pain of active psoriatic arthritis. it even helps stop further joint damage. don't use if you're allergic to cosentyx. before starting, get checked for tuberculosis.
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the pentagon is now putting $1 billion of its own funding toward the president's border wall. it has authorized the transfer to go towards miles of fencing. they say the pentagon never got permission from congress to divert the funds. tell us how it happened. >> this came from acting defense secretary shanahan late last night. right now he is testifying on capitol hill in front of the house armed services committee getting a lot of questions coming his way about this. republicans and democrats alike expressing some concern that military funding is being
shifted towards all of this. shanahan making clear that he approved a plan for $1 billion in essentially unused funds for military personnel, unused money for pay and pension type accounts that that will be transferred to building the 57 mile segment through parts of texas and arizona, wall protection, improving roads and perhaps more to come potentially in the coming weeks in canceling some military construction in order to fund additional parts of the border. senate democrats especially very concerned about this. you know as well as i do, congressional members always concerned about projects being cancelled in their district. they are raising the broader issue, does this begin to impact military readiness as you take this money away. should it be used somehow in
another way to keep the military ready, trained, able to deploy. it's one of many questions being raised about all of this. >> comes as a top marine commander saying it is effecting readiness today. the grief over the parkland and sandy hook shootings compounded by recent apparent suicides. why is this happening and what can we do to help? i'll speak to a father whose son survived the parkland attack. that's next. how do you gauge the greatness of an suv?
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right now the senate judiciary committee is holding a hearing on so-called red flag laws asking to temporarily suspend a person's access to guns when the person poses a serious threat to themselves or others. the hearing comes after three people committed suicide and the one thing connecting all of the suicides is tragedy. the latest was jeremy richmond father of 6 year old. i want to speak to jeff cassidy. his son survived the parkland shooting. jeff is now the president of families versus assault rifles. we appreciate you coming on
today. >> thanks for having me. >> let me begin because this is such a polarizing issue. just note for our viewers' sake, you in addition to being the father of two survivors, parkland and you are also a plaufr, a gun owner and supporter of the second amendment. >> i am also no party affiliation. they try to paint the folks who are on the gun safety side of the argument as liberal, democrat, hippy, whatever you want to call it. that's not the case. gun safety shouldn't be a political issue. gun safety is for the whole country. it's for all of us. bullets are not red or blue. it's enough already with the e lies by the nra and other enthusiasts who want people to buy more and more guns. >> let's talk about pending action. we have the supreme court, chief
justice roberts denying a request to put a hold on a trump administration rule that bans bump stocks which was used in the las vegas shooting. your reaction to the supreme court's decision to allow that ban to go into action. >> you know, bump stocks, it's an interesting red herring because i feel like congress wants to say that they did something and the president wants to say that he did something. something like 0.0001 assault rifle owners actually own bump stocks. i certainly agree that they should be banned. they take what is a dangerous and unnecessary weapon and make it even more so. please don't get confused and think that banning bump stocks really solves anything more than just a very, very small band aid on a gaping wound. >> i hear you. let's talk about other measures. you have this hearing going on
as we speak on the so-called extreme risks and red flag laws which to some degree you would expect it already to be the case that if someone poses a threat that you can confiscate their weapon. does a law like this make a difference to end gun violence but lessen gun violence? >> i guess technically it would. i don't love the law. particularly with the background that i have in law enforcement, to get that phone call that says go to such and such residence and take the guns away from mr. smith because he's been threatening people with them and he's got a mental health issue. you need to gaknock on his door and tell him you will take his guns away. that will be a bad day for somebody at some point. how about keep them out of his hands in the first place? there should be some qualifications for having to purchase a gun particularly the
assault weapons. my organization of families versus assault rifles, we just want reasonable safety controls on who is walking around with these weapons of war. that's all we are asking for. >> the u.s. military are often saying these are weapons of war and have no place being on the streets. you have been a campaigner since your family went through this tragedy of parkland. there was a feeling following parkland that this was a moment of change, that all of these young students in particular going so public here would make a difference. of course, since then, you have seen much of the same resistance we have seen. i am wondering if you are concerned that that moment has passed. >> that moment hasn't passed. if you look at the nra's messaging they came at it with their play book. it was released yesterday.
i encourage everybody to look for it. it's very interesting what the nra tells others to do in order to avoid liability or responsibility for these tragedies. if you look at their messaging, they have had to back off and soften it a little bit which doesn't mean they have softened it. it means they had to react to the fact that they are dealing with teenagers now. the teenagers will be around a lot longer than pewayne lapierr has been around. really the only people standing in their way are the g.o.p. which is purchased by the nra and the nra itself through its purchase of g.o.p. when house resolution 8 passed 420-0, that should be telling somebody that this country is ready for a
change, that a change is being demanded by the citizens yet mitch mcconnell won't let that come to a hearing in the senate. that should tell everyone of us about the so-called patriotss of the nra who don't pay federal taxes and have wrestled control of this debate out of the hands of reasonable people for decades. >> as you note, stopped in the senate. thanks so much for the time, the work you do. we wish you and your family well just in the wake of the tragedy and our thoughts are with you. >> thank you for saying so. thanks for having me. >> thanks very much to you, as well. we'll be right back.
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in a new report in the "new york times," test pilots found they had less than 40 seconds to revert disaster by overriding an automated system on the boeing 737 max jet. pilots were using a simulator to try to re-create the problems that investigators suspect caused the lion air crash in indonesia last fall. joining me now is tom foreman. it looks like pilots were struggling here. 40 seconds is not a lot of time to respond. >> i'm going to start right now the stop watch on my phone while we talk. what they are talking about is
we are talking about an override system in the plane. this is a system that as the plane starts to nose up it would pull the nose down so it doesn't stall. pilots were not aware of this happening and then they had to try to pull the nose back up. if there were a false reading the plane kept trying to push the nose back down. in these tests, these simulated tests a couple of pilots told the "new york times" if they didn't respond immediately and counter act this within 40 seconds they could be in serious trouble. and that's as much time as just happened since i started talking. >> trying to make those decisions and those adjustments, i don't know if panic is the right word but great concern as you perceive you are fighting this massive passenger jet. that's the lion air issue. >> i have to say that one of the things the pilot said is that the pull down from the automatic system was stronger than they
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this morning president trump and his supporters are feeling vindicated by robert mueller's report. just like the president, those supporters are using it to take on their political opponents. that means even democrats are saying it is time to move on politically from the russia investigation. cnn's miguel marquez joins us now from suburban detroit. what are you hearing from republicans and democratic voters? >> reporter: this is the all
important mccomb county which could decide the state as it did in 2016. republicans are emboldened by what they saw in that mueller report and some democrats are saying maybe it is time to move on. in the heartland, conclusions of the mueller report so far favor the president and his catch phrases are winning. >> i make of it exactly whats d whatdonald trump said it was. i think they need to investigate the people that funded the fake dossier because they are the real criminals in this. >> reporter: ford auto worker is a huge trump fan. he helped elect the president and says the report's filings give republicans a lift. >> if democrats were smart they would start working with donald trump. >> reporter: if they do, they are only going to make him
stronger in places like macomb? >> absolutely. >> michigan and macomb county are critical to the president's reelection. in 2016 he won the state by just 10,704 votes. macomb county voted for obama in 2008 and 2012. it flipped for trump big time. he won the county by more than 48,000 votes. even democrats here say the report's findings won't help him win back macomb county and the state. >> it was surprising that more wasn't revealed in this report. >> he has run for and held several political offices says his fellow democrats need to investigate less and focus on policy. >> i think democrats really just need to roll up their sleeves and get to work on issues that are important to the citizenships of my city and my state. >> there is hope for democrats here. the mid term saw the rebound
slightly, the county winning democrat candidates. >> i was excited. >> jon skance considers himself a moderate republican. he voted for the president but could be persuaded to support joe biden in 2020. >> do you think the mueller report helps the president? >> i think it helped him a lot. it got rid of a big stigma with his following. >> reporter: now, even though 2020 feels like a long way off, there was one thing that was a sort of common theme between republicans and democrats that we found here. for republicans it might be their biggest fear. for democrats it might be their hope, but they seem to agree that one person can make a difference here, a guy who hasn't put his hat in the ring yet, joe biden. >> seems a long way off. first debates are a couple months away. joining me now to discuss
this is cnn political commentator, a member of president trump's reelection advisory committee. clearly what we know of the mueller report is a win for the president. today you have in the last 24 hours a decision on health care to gut all of the obamacare act which many republicans support and democrats ran on health care as an issue in the mid terms. are they giving -- is the straithe trump administration giving democrats an advantage here? >> the big picture is easy to understand either i have health care or i don't. i think the republicans need to really articulate how they will save that if they will try to gut it. that is a big issue that the democrats could seize upon. >> i asked a republican lawmaker a short time ago.
he said we will have a bipartisan solution. >> this is where the republicans and congress get a black mark because they had eight years to prepare for this and they didn't. and when they had the opportunity they didn't know what to do. i give them an f on that. let's go back to the real issue i think and that is because i think the voter -- the first gentleman in macomb county had it right, the republican had it right. we had been hearing for two years that donald trump is a traitor, he committed treason, all this nonsense. and it was just a pile on. he was convicted before anything came out. and now that we know it was a hoax, we got to go backwards because it's a bigger picture than just donald trump whom democrats hate. >> it wasn't a hoax. this was -- >> it was predicated on a political dirty trick.
>> he said he found evidence on both sides. it is one thing to say he concluded his conclusion on collusion. >> the evidence would be what? that he was obstructing something that never happened? >> that is a fair question. >> more than that, mueller did a very thorough job. we knew there were democrats on that. everyone was kind of skiddish on that. i think they did a very fair job. go back to comey. comey was part of this in the very beginning. comey made a career out of this selling books, becoming the face of the resistance. comey knew the president wasn't under investigation. that's why trump was so angry about this. he kept it going. comey said publically that he could be fired for any reason. that's not obstruction of justice especially if trump knew what he did with the clinton stuff which was damning. >> comey is long gone.
let's get on to the political effect of this. we have an election approaching. we have noted a number of times that when you look at the issues that voters list as their number one voting issue in 2020, it's immigration. if we have a list i will put it up. immigration is one of them. the russia investigation is well down on the list. yes, this satisfies what many trump voters -- is it a smart thing for the president to run on in 2020? on the end of the mueller investigation. >> it vindicates them but shows the corruptness of the system. i think it is very important to go back and find out how this actually happened so it doesn't happen again. >> the economy, health care, corruption, gun policy. all of those issues are well above the russia investigation. >> i think with regard to health care, the republicans need to come up with something. on immigration i think this is an opportunity for the president
to pivot. he was vindicated. i think we can mucove on from that. i think if he says to the democrats let's go after immigration, i'm going to give you stuff on daca. i want stuff on the wall and let's fix the loopholes, go big and maybe talk about infrastructure again. if he can start getting things done or put the democrats against the wall where they don't want to work with him and they don't want to talk about impeachment anymore, then they are going to look defensive and look like the obstructionests they are. >> the president should pivot to those issues, as well. >> i think he can go big now and get over the anger and he should be angry for what happened. now move to the presidential campaign which has started. with that you still have to govern. get some things done. >> always good to have you on. thanks for taking the time. we also have this news just in to cnn. actor jussie smollett is in a
cook county courtroom for what we are told is an emergency court appearance. the actor facing a felony charge for filing a false police report. smollett was arrested and released on bail just last month after claiming that he was assaulted by two men who he said used hate filled language. our chicago crew is enroute to the courtroom there. we will give you details as soon as we get them. in other news, duke university has agreed to pay millions of dollars to the government after being accused of faking research to get federal money.
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duke university agreed to pay $112 million as a result of allegations that it faked data to receive dollars in federal grants. prosecutors say a single researcher applied for and received more than two dozen grants from federal agencies. the applications were submitted over a 12-year period. martin savidge joins me now. this started with a whistle blower suing the school. >> reporter: it did. it went back a number of years and it all became part of a federal lawsuit here. these are allegations made against duke university, a very prestigious private university that now has decided rather than go to trial it will pay $112.5 million back to the federal government. essentially this was an alleged cheating scandal by duke university. it wasn't the students here involved. it was a researcher, a researcher that applied for
federal grants. they were coming from -- it turns out the research was not properly done or the technician simply lied on the application. and in progress reports on how they were doing, fabricated the results. so the public is ripped off in two ways. you are ripped off because it is tax money that went to waste and false information that you got in return. this gives you an idea of the money we are talking about because the rewards were almost $34 million that they will get as a result of turning the program in. duke university has basically said that it did make a mistake here. let me read a portion of the statement they put out.
they say we must accept responsibility and acknowledge that our processes for identifying this conduct did not work and take steps to improve here. there you have it. another university caught up in another very embarrassing circumstance. duke says going forward its research will be carefully scrutinized. >> it has consequences financially and in terms of information. do we know more about the whistle blower? >> it's a former ploe and a person who clearly was very aware of what was going on. we know that the technician that was the one who allegedly lied in the applications has been fired. research done for the public by public money in which not only was the information lied about, but false results provide. when you think of the national snoo institutes of health, that is
devastating. thanks for joining me today. i'm jim sciutto in new york. at this hour starts right now. hello, everyone. thanks for joining me. a major reversal from the white house or more of a reversal on an old reversal? i will leave you to decide what it is. the trump administration now calling for the entire affordable care act, all of obamacare to be stricken down and thrown out after another court battle over the health care law. a federal court in texas invalidated obamacare. the administration's response, the justice department in their words, the justice department is not urging that any portion of the district court's judgment be reversed. to put it another way, going ns